Human Beings or Human Persons?

This is a very consequential discussion, in which, I believe, truth is on the side of Zizioulas and Kallistos. Staniloae would certainly also agree with them.

Public Orthodoxy

by Paul Ladouceur

Vlachos-Zizioulas Met. Hierotheos (Vlachos) and Met. John (Zizioulas)

One of the liveliest exchanges at the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church in June 2016 concerned which Greek words should be used in Council documents to refer to humans: anthrōpos (“human being”); or anthrōpino prosōpo (or simply prosōpon) (“human person”). The main protagonists in this debate were, in the anthrōpos corner, Metropolitan Hierotheos (Vlachos), and in the prosōpon corner, Metropolitan John (Zizioulas), supported by Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware). While this episode may seem to be an intra-Greek linguistic spat, the theological stakes are very high.

Prior to the Council, in May 2016 the Church of Greece, at the urging of Metropolitan Hierotheos and others, accepted that all references in Council documents to “human person” should be changed to “human being.” Vlachos advances two reasons for rejecting references to humans as persons. First, the ancient Fathers attributed the…

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